Beauty in a speck of dust

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srxtm_tease.jpg

Phosphatized pre-Cambrian embryos are cool. It's amazing that they've been preserved at all, and they are spectacularly gorgeous. We can learn about the evolution of development from their superficial appearance, but what we really want to do is poke around their interiors and analyze them cell by cell, something that has been hard to do without destroying them in the process. Until now.

A report in Nature (and a too short mention on a researcher's web page) describes the application of synchrotron X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) to these fossilized embryos to resolve their internal structure. It's a powerful tool, and it's generating some beautiful images.

Continue reading "Beauty in a speck of dust" (on Pharyngula)

3 Comments

Does this mean that dust bunnies evolved? ;)

Henry

They definitely replicate (or at least multiply).

In a real sacrifice for the sake of science, I’m leaving selected populations of my household bunnies alone, to see if variations in populations develop.

Then I’ll start spinning the dice and randomly vacuuming up some populations, sweeping up others, and leave others alone.

We’ll see if we’ve got any mutant dust bunny strains and whether any of the mutations render some strains more resistant to getting sucked or swept apart…

[cue the canned mad scientist laugh]

Interdisciplinary solution to the question of where the light rays in the closet go when you slam the door on them: the photons lose energy and settle to the bottom as dust bunnies. Sagan was right: “We are all star stuff.”

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on August 10, 2006 10:54 AM.

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